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New York Rangers: Big Problem in the Big Apple

After selecting Alexis Lafreniere with the first pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, the New York Rangers were seen as the NHL team with the best future, loaded with players and prospects throughout their team. Many NHL fans expected the Rangers to make a huge jump into the playoffs, but unexpectedly, the Rangers sit in the bottom five of the NHL. So what went wrong? There are numerous factors that led to the Rangers struggles to start the year and one of them is their lack of player development.

Player Development

The Rangers are known for their poor player development which has led to many players not reaching their full potential or requesting a trade from the organization. The most recent example is Lias Andersson, who was picked seventh overall in the 2017 NHL Draft, but recently was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. It seems like the same may happen to Kaapo Kaako and Alexis Lafreniere. Kaako was selected second overall in the 2019 NHL Draft and was expected to make an immediate impact, however, that was the complete opposite of what happened. Kaako extremely underperformed and had the worst advance stats in the whole league. It seems that Kaako is getting a bit better in year two, but right now it is uncertain if Kaako will even pan out.

The Rangers were also gifted with the first pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and they selected Alexis Lafreniere and he was expected to be for a sure star in the league. But just like most players on the Rangers this season, he is highly disappointing, putting up one goal in 14 games. People are starting to wonder who’s to blame, the players or the coaches?

Coaching

David Quinn, the coach of the New York Rangers, is receiving a ton of backlash due to the Rangers’ disappointing play to start the year. There are numerous problems with the Rangers lineup which include Coach Quinn not giving the younger guys more playing time. Giving veterans more opportunity compared to the young players are hurting their development and lowering their confidence. If Quinn would give more ice time and opportunities to Kaako and Lafreniere, it could tremendously improve their growth and confidence.

Hughes vs Kaako

Here is a look at Devils player Jack Hughes. He was taken first overall in the 2019 NHL Draft. Just like Kaako, Hughes had a very underwhelming year, putting up 21 points in total. In year two, after the hiring of Lindy Ruff, Hughes has been on a tear, leading the team with nine points in 10 games. One of the main reasons for Hughes success is Ruff putting Hughes on the top line to give him confidence and the chance to prove himself. And he has done just that. If Quinn really wants to turn the Rangers around, he needs to turn to his younger players

More Optimal Lines (Assuming Everyone was Healthy)

Lafreniere-Zibanejad-Buchnevich

Panarin-Chytil-Kaako

 

Kreider-Strome-Gauthier

Lemieux-Howden-Blackwell

 

Miller-Fox

Lindgren-Trouba

Bitetto-Hajek

 

Shesterkin

Georgiev




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